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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Define the pelvic girdle and describe the bones and ligaments of the pelvis
  • Explain the three regions of the hip bone and identify their bony landmarks
  • Describe the openings of the pelvis and the boundaries of the greater and lesser pelvis

The pelvic girdle    (hip girdle) is formed by a single bone, the hip bone    or coxal bone    (coxal = “hip”), which serves as the attachment point for each lower limb. Each hip bone, in turn, is firmly joined to the axial skeleton via its attachment to the sacrum of the vertebral column. The right and left hip bones also converge anteriorly to attach to each other. The bony pelvis    is the entire structure formed by the two hip bones, the sacrum, and, attached inferiorly to the sacrum, the coccyx ( [link] ).

Unlike the bones of the pectoral girdle, which are highly mobile to enhance the range of upper limb movements, the bones of the pelvis are strongly united to each other to form a largely immobile, weight-bearing structure. This is important for stability because it enables the weight of the body to be easily transferred laterally from the vertebral column, through the pelvic girdle and hip joints, and into either lower limb whenever the other limb is not bearing weight. Thus, the immobility of the pelvis provides a strong foundation for the upper body as it rests on top of the mobile lower limbs.

Pelvis

This figure shows the bone of the pelvis.
The pelvic girdle is formed by a single hip bone. The hip bone attaches the lower limb to the axial skeleton through its articulation with the sacrum. The right and left hip bones, plus the sacrum and the coccyx, together form the pelvis.

Hip bone

The hip bone, or coxal bone, forms the pelvic girdle portion of the pelvis. The paired hip bones are the large, curved bones that form the lateral and anterior aspects of the pelvis. Each adult hip bone is formed by three separate bones that fuse together during the late teenage years. These bony components are the ilium, ischium, and pubis ( [link] ). These names are retained and used to define the three regions of the adult hip bone.

The hip bone

This figure shows the right hip bone. The left panel shows the lateral view, and the right panel shows the medial view.
The adult hip bone consists of three regions. The ilium forms the large, fan-shaped superior portion, the ischium forms the posteroinferior portion, and the pubis forms the anteromedial portion.

The ilium    is the fan-like, superior region that forms the largest part of the hip bone. It is firmly united to the sacrum at the largely immobile sacroiliac joint    (see [link] ). The ischium    forms the posteroinferior region of each hip bone. It supports the body when sitting. The pubis    forms the anterior portion of the hip bone. The pubis curves medially, where it joins to the pubis of the opposite hip bone at a specialized joint called the pubic symphysis    .

Ilium

When you place your hands on your waist, you can feel the arching, superior margin of the ilium along your waistline (see [link] ). This curved, superior margin of the ilium is the iliac crest    . The rounded, anterior termination of the iliac crest is the anterior superior iliac spine    . This important bony landmark can be felt at your anterolateral hip. Inferior to the anterior superior iliac spine is a rounded protuberance called the anterior inferior iliac spine    . Both of these iliac spines serve as attachment points for muscles of the thigh. Posteriorly, the iliac crest curves downward to terminate as the posterior superior iliac spine    . Muscles and ligaments surround but do not cover this bony landmark, thus sometimes producing a depression seen as a “dimple” located on the lower back. More inferiorly is the posterior inferior iliac spine    . This is located at the inferior end of a large, roughened area called the auricular surface of the ilium    . The auricular surface articulates with the auricular surface of the sacrum to form the sacroiliac joint. Both the posterior superior and posterior inferior iliac spines serve as attachment points for the muscles and very strong ligaments that support the sacroiliac joint.

Questions & Answers

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environment factor that cause a cell to respond
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A heart is an organ in the circulatory system that pumps blood throughout the systemic regions
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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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